African Union Commemorates Africa Healthy Lifestyle Day
The African Union (AU) Medical Services Directorate commemorated the Africa Healthy Lifestyle Day today, 26th February, 2016 at the African Union Commission (AUC) Headquarters. The Directorate of Medical Services celebrated the day with the Slogan:Less Sugar. More Life; Diabetes Kills one Person Every 7 Seconds; and Change Today for Healthier Tomorrow under the umbrella of the Theme: “Live Healthy, Prevent Diabetes”.The activities were highly attended by AU, African Member States Staff as well as Ministers and Ambassadors. The Daybegan by an active sensitization exercise and distribution of flyers at the AU Main gate. Later on,there was screening of Staff members for Diabetes Mellitus, followed by a Public lecture.
Welcoming the participants, Dr. Yankuba Kassama, Director, Medical Services underscored the urgent need for all AU staff, friends and families to know how to prevent Diabetes Mellitus and stay healthy. The theme for this year's commemoration was specially selected in line with the global theme that focuses on Diabetes Mellitus which is observed globally.He further stressed“I hereby call on us all to take action and adopt healthier lifestyles, make more informed food choices to halt this Diabetes and other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) epidemic”. Furthermore, the Director encouraged the audience to maintain good nutrition, have regular physical exercise, stop tobacco use and substance abuse, control alcohol use, manage stress, practice safe sexual behavior and ensure regular health check-ups.
Mrs. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler, Director of Women, Gender and Development was the guest of honor during the public lecture on Prevention of Diabetes Mellitus.
She stated that the decision to commemorate this day was taken in July 2008 by the African Ministers of Health and adopted by the Executive Council. The Decision was in line with the World Health Organization (WHO's)framework strategy for prevention and control of NCDs across Africa and the world.
In addition, Mrs. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler stated that the 2016 African Union summit declared this year as the year of Human Rights with particular focus on Women's Right. She stressed that access to Healthcare systems is one of the basic rights of the African people.
The Director recalled that the World Health Organization reports that NCDs, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes, are the leading cause of sickness and death for women and men worldwide.It is projected that globally, the NCD rates will increase by 17% in the next ten years, largely due to population aging and growth, globalization, and urbanization. The biggest rate of NCD increase is expected to be in women.
Mrs. Mahawa Kaba reiterated that educating girls and women can prevent future NCDs through teaching them about healthy nutrition and the avoidance of alcohol and tobacco. Girls and boys, women and men should be equally involved in physical education and sports, which empowers them and reduces their risk of being overweight.She called upon the African people to step up their efforts in the fight against NCDsinAfrica.
DrMoges Kebebew, a specialist diabetologist gave a brief presentation on Diabetes.He stated thatDiabetes Mellitus is a chronic progressive disorder that disrupts the way the body uses sugar.Dr. Moges also gave some advice on how to prevent the disease; get more physical activity, take healthy diet, lose extra weight, reduce stress and to stop smoking.
Dr Brook Tsehay, Chairperson, Africa Healthy Lifestyle Organizing Committee, during the closing expressed his appreciation to the different Heads of Directorates for all the support given to the MSD in the organization of the event and for attending the lecture. He informedthat this is the fourth time in a row that African Union has celebrated the Africa Healthy Lifestyle Day.
He further challenged the African people to adopt healthy lifestyles as stressed by the speakers so as to put a halt on NCDs like diabetes in order to enjoy good quality of life. Dr Brook Tsehay further elaborated that in order to create awareness of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, the Organizing Committee of the Africa Healthy Lifestyle is hoping to hold more Public lectures and calls upon everyone to participate.